South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday he is willing to meet with North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un amid heightened tensions in the wake of Pyongyang’s first intercontinental ballistic missile test-launch.
Moon, in a speech ahead of the G-20 summit in Germany, also proposed the two Koreas resume reunions of families separated by war, stop hostile activities along the DMZ and cooperate on the 2018 Olympics to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
"The current situation where there is no contact between the relevant authorities of the South and the North is highly dangerous," Moon said. "I am ready to meet with Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea at any time at any place, if the conditions are met and if it will provide an opportunity to transform the tension and confrontation on the Korean Peninsula."
Moon added that he is ready to put all issues on the negotiating table, including the North’s nuclear program and the signing of a peace treaty to officially end the Korean War.
President Donald Trump meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in before the Northeast Asia Security dinner at the US Consulate General Hamburg, Thursday, July 6, 2017, in Hamburg.
Since taking office in May, Moon has been trying to improve ties with North Korea, but his efforts have produced little, with the North testing a series of newly developed missiles including an ICBM on Tuesday.
The North’s ICBM launch, its most successful missile test to date, has stoked security worries in Washington, Seoul and Tokyo as it showed the country could eventually perfect a reliable nuclear missile capable of reaching anywhere in the United States. Analysts say the missile tested Tuesday could reach Alaska if launched at a normal trajectory.
After the launch, Kim said he would never put his weapons programs up for negotiation unless the United States abandons its hostile policy toward his country. Kim’s statement suggested he will order more missile and nuclear tests until North Korea develops a functioning ICBM that can place the entire U.S. within its striking distance.
In a show of force against North Korea, South Korea and the United States staged "deep strike" precision missile firing drills on Wednesday. In North Korea’s capital, thousands of people rallied Thursday in Kim Il Sung square to celebrate the launch.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.